Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy Public Charter School's curriculum is standards-based as required by the District of Columbia Board of Education. A special program focus is a half day language immersion program for primary grade students in prekindergarten through second grade.
The purpose of education at Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy Public Charter School is to provide students with learning experiences, which leads to academic and talent development, and an everlasting love for learning. MMBDA believes in preparing our students for the 21st century. One indicator of a twenty-first century learner is his/her ability to interact with current technology and use this technology to improve on his/her learning. Students use laptop computers, iPads, and calculators daily. For example, in music students use iPads to create musical compositions. Teachers are reliant upon technology in their instructional delivery. Classrooms have LCD projectors, SmartBoards, document cameras, and computers to plan and deliver instruction.
MMBDA uses the co-teaching model with a 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio, which allows for intentional and targeted instruction. The co-planning process facilitates collaboration, sharing of ideas, reflection, and mentoring to promote creative and effective teaching. Co-teaching facilitates inclusion, which allows special education students in the general education setting.
We believe that Foreign Language, Art, and Music are critical subjects for developing well rounded, creative, thoughtful and intelligent children. We believe that a high-quality education is an inherent right and one of the most important things that we can provide a child. Further, we believe that Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy Public Charter School will ensure that the right of high-quality education will be actualized. Our Board of Trustees, faculty and staff are committed to fulfilling the responsibility of providing a high-quality educational program that will produce children who possess the ability to think critically, creatively, and analytically.
We believe that the child should be able to experience and participate in a program that gives opportunity for:
- Exposure to a variety of topics, people, and adventures
- Exposure and acquisition of languages of the world
- Developing creativity
- Identifying, cultivating and developing unique and individual talents
- Developing proficient communication skills through reading, writing, speaking andusing technology
- Developing character traits of integrity, honesty, fairness, compassion, diplomacy,and responsibility
- Developing a quest for learning, investigation and sharing knowledge
Using science, world events and literature as catalyst for contributing toward the good of the child's neighborhood, District of Columbia and the world.
Our Academic Program is developmental, rigorous, and engaging. Our teachers instruct each student using differentiated instruction methods to make sure that no child is left behind. Students will demonstrate mastery of learning through performance based assessments as well as through their performance on the District-wide standardized test.
Reading/ Language Arts - Students develop reading, speaking, listening and writing skills through a comprehensive language arts program. Each student in instructed through a language arts block of 90 minutes per day. Reading instruction includes the elements of scientific based reading instruction - systematic instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, comprehension, and verbal expression. Teachers utilize differentiated instruction and flexible grouping strategies to best suit children's needs.
Math - Students develop mathematical literacy during a dedicated block for math instruction. Students learn math skills for computation, application and analysis. Students work in small groups, teacher directed and independent activities.
Foreign Language - All students take a foreign language. Beginning in prekindergarten, students learn Spanish in a language immersion environment. Language immersion in Spanish continues in kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2. Beginning in grade 3, students have Spanish instruction class daily. Students in grade 5,6, 7, and 8 take both Spanish and Latin instruction. Science - Students learn Science concepts through hands-on, experiential learning situations. Using the scientific method, students explore, observe, predict and analyze the life, earth and physical sciences.
Social Studies - Students learn about their community, their city, their nation and the world. They investigate and discuss current local and world issues and discover the many ways they can be a part of making their city and the world better.
Visual Arts - All students receive art instruction with an art teacher , twice per week. Many of our other content areas integrate art expression. Students enjoy art activities as they explore, develop, and expand their creativity and self-expression.
Performing Arts - Students engage in music, drama and dance activities as a part of the curriculum. Students participate in class and in after school activities. Every class leads assembly programs during the school year.
Physical Education - Fitness and health consciousness is a goal for every student at Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy. Team activities, fitness exercises and organized sports are P.E. components for every grade.
An important aspect of the Common Core Standards movement is to fully enable students to be College and Career ready. Our classrooms must not only reflect the 21st century but they must be inclusive of the everyday resources we all use daily. Cell phones, social media, video, computers, internet, live streaming, webinars, are just some of the vocabulary we have added into our everyday vocabularies in the past 15 years. Even our toddlers look to the tablets for entertainment, learning, and fun. Blended learning is student-centered in its approach, allowing students and schools to use time and resources more flexibly than in traditional school environments. Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy PCS believes that blended learning requires an effective teacher to guide and support student learning.
Throughout the day at MMBDA, students are engaged in inquiry, learning and creativity as they utilize iPads, Kindles, laptops, desktops, document cameras, LCD projectors. This access to high quality digital content and effective teacher facilitation magnifies, extends, and increases learning opportunities for all of our students. MMBDA has selected digital resources that increase teacher opportunity for data analysis, personalized instruction, differentiated instruction as well as richer curriculum offerings. Here are just some of the digital opportunities for our students:
Discovery Education - ELA and Math Grades: K-2 Assessment
Discovery Education offers over 9000 full-length online streaming educational videos segmented into 71,000 content-specific clips tied directly to state and national standards that can be incorporated into existing curriculum.
Starfall - is a program service of Starfall Education Foundation, that teaches children to read with phonics The systematic approach, in conjunction with audiovisual interactivity is for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, special education, and English language development (ELD, ELL, ESL). Students enjoy delightfully animated songs, mathematics, and reading activities spanning pre-k to 2nd grade. Children have fun learning essential reading and math skills through exploration. The teacher-guided and child-directed nature of the curriculum products ensure English language learners and struggling readers learn alongside their peers.
Achievement Network (ANet) -ANet is an education tool that helps schools boost student learning with great teaching that is grounded in standards, informed by data, and built on the successful practices of educators around the country. Four times a year, ANet provides interim assessments that give educators timely, actionable, and student-specific data. The assessment questions are aligned to the standards and reflect the demands of state summative assessments. This helps teachers understand what students know and can do. This teaching/learning/assessment platform also includes
Reports: useful and easy to interpret; designed in response to teacher requests.
Lessons: a wealth of high quality sample lessons curated by our curriculum specialists.
Quiz builder tool with a large library of sample items so teachers can easily create targeted formative mini-assessments.
Teaching Strategies Gold System for Preschool offers a comprehensive collection of resources to support all educators, from knowledge-building volumes, student progress tracking, assessment, to daily practice resources. It also includes a seamless assessment system for children from birth through kindergarten. With professional development and guidance for strengthening family connections included in every resource, the Teaching Strategies® System for Preschool helps our teachers build high-quality preschool programs.
Teaching Strategies GoldTM is based on 38 objectives for development and learning that are predictors of school success and aligned with state standards. Ongoing assessment is an essential part of effective teaching. Teaching Strategies GOLDTM, is used by prekindergarten teachers to support the Creative Curriculum and provide a seamless assessment system for students.
Accelerated Reader is used in elementary and middle school classrooms. It provides a collection of high-interest nonfiction articles that appeal to students. New articles are added monthly. As an enrichment, ancillary and support resource, Accelerated Reader 360 allows teachers to find articles at the right level. Teachers search interesting articles by ATOS level, Lexile® measure, or grade level. Teachers can browse by topic, sub-topic, or even by skill such as determining opinion or author’s purpose to support the Common Core Standards instruction.
While serving students in grades PreK-3 through 8th grade, MMBDA offers robust course offerings and experiences that are challenging, varied, age and developmentally appropriate, while remaining harmonious to its mission. MMBDA has three curriculum foci that are unique for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle School programs that all foster critical thinking skills, inquiry within an interdisciplinary manner, and intellectual curiosity. Each curriculum area empowers learners and teachers to make connections across all subject areas to the outside world. Teachers collaborate and integrate subjects in thematic units across disciplines. For example, while fourth graders were exploring decomposition in math, they were studying decomposition in studio art: breaking complex compositions into simpler component shapes.